Water company Severn Trent, which serves 4.5m customers across the Midlands and into mid- and north Wales, has been named in the first-ever Social Mobility Employer Index.
The Index, a joint initiative between the Social Mobility Foundation and the Social Mobility Commission in partnership with the City of London Corporation, ranks Britain’s top employers on the actions they are taking to ensure everyone has the opportunity to find a job and to be promoted, regardless of their background.
Severn Trent was named at number 38 in the Index and is the only water company featured.
Bronagh Kennedy, Severn Trent Executive Committee diversity sponsor, said: “We’re delighted to have made the table as we’ve been placing much more emphasis on social mobility in recent years as we strive to have a workforce that reflects the customers and communities we serve.
“We know we benefit from engaging and developing talent from all backgrounds and so have reviewed our work experience programmes, schools and university engagement and changed our selection processes to ensure we remove hurdles that might have stopped us from identifying the best candidates.
“It’s great that all the hard work we’ve undertaken has been acknowledged but there is still much to be done – we now have the opportunity to share best practice and to identify where we now need to focus our efforts to really make a difference.”
In order to improve social mobility Severn Trent has made a number of changes to the way that it looks for new people, especially when it comes to its graduate and apprentice schemes, as well as in its engagement with schools.
The company has moved from a competency based system for its graduates and apprentices to one based around strengths, which means that academic qualifications are only part of the story.
In addition, Severn Trent now has a more inclusive schools engagement programme proactively targeting broad range of local schools. That is backed up by the company’s work experience programme which invites students to spend time at Severn Trent learning employability skills and meeting employee across the organisation.